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Abstract

Educational research strongly suggests that parental involvement is beneficial for academic achievement and scholarly studies have pointed to parents’ seminal role in the education of young children as well as the need for continued nurture. Researchers indicate that parental involvement, however, tends to diminish over time and in many cases nearly disappears altogether during the middle-school years. This decline in parent-child connection, as Rutherford and Billig (1995) suggest, occurs at a most inopportune time in that the early teen years are crucial in making personal, relational, and educational decisions that have both immediate and lasting impact. In their study of successful teens, Csikszentmihalyi, et al. (1993), warned that teens who disengage from parents too early are more susceptible to negative peer pressures and tend to underachieve, while the most successful children are able to forge interdependent relationships with their parents. They conclude that so long as parent-child interactions remain non-threatening, parental influence remains a crucial element in the child’s development. The aim of this study was to investigate middle school choral directors’ attitudes and efforts in enhancing parental involvement in their programs. A model for investigation was devised by combining the approaches of previous researchers—primarily Ramirez (1999), Brand (1985), Macmillan (2004), Davidson (1996), Zdzinski (1994, 2002) and Sichivitsa (2001)—and inquiry was made into: (1) the directors’ general attitudes regarding parental involvement; (2) methods and frequency of communication used by directors to promote involvement; and (3) directors’ intentional efforts to promote involvement—further categorized as parental musicianship, parental supervision, and parental support.

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